Monday, August 25, 2008

Orientation day

I wrote yesterday (Sunday) that there was so much I would like to write to you on the eve of my orientation day as a theology student (M.A. track) at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at Dominican House of Studies, where I have landed following a somewhat atypical trajectory.

Well, there is ten times as much that I would like to write to you now. For me, it was "orientation day" in more ways than one.

For now, I would like to share a thought that emerged this evening:

I believe I understand one reason God allowed me to suffer the operations and (so far) successful treatment I have endured since this past December for thyroid cancer. In fact, it would not surprise me if it were the reason.

It is so that you would pray for me. Because I so needed the help of the prayers of the Communion of Saints—that is, you and, through you, Christ's Mystical Body on Earth and in Heaven—as well as those of my friends and family not in communion with the Church.

Because it was with those prayers that, for the first time since the day I entered the Church, I felt today the certain knowledge, grounded in the understanding that comes from faith, that I was exactly where He wanted me to be at that moment.

Thank you again. And again, ad majorem Dei gloriam.

More soon. Need sleep for the first day of class. I wanted so badly to shake hands with my new classmates at the opening Mass of the Holy Spirit today, and my body's leftover radiation was by then low enough that I could have—but I played it safe because my hands were wet, or should I say contaminated, with tears. After all, the Dominicans' motto, as I learned in this month's Magnificat, is contemplata aliis tradere—handing on to others the fruit of our contemplation—not contaminata allis tradere. (Forgive me if I am mangling the language of the Church; my first Elementary Latin I class is not until Wednesday.)

"It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes."—Psalm 119:71 (KJV)

RELATED: If you are seeking guidance in your life, I recommend an essay I noted in June by Father Peter F. Ryan S.J., professor of moral theology at Mount St. Mary Seminary: "How to Discern the Elements of Your Personal Vocation." It is not only for those discerning a religious vocation. In fact, it had particular meaning for me as a laywoman, helping me become more receptive to God's will for me.